Looking at the very definition of SECULARISM on the one side and Islam’s vehement claims to be the perfect faith on the other side, one wonders how can they both be reconciled or held to be in accordance with each other?
Secularism-which demands absolute separation between affairs of the state and that of religion allows no room to be tampered with by being measured on an equal footing with Islam. Personally I do not subscribe to the notion that secularism is mere a demand of separation between church and state. It’s actually much more than this. Secularism is practically a unique mind-set which at many times might not consent to what Islam says.
Despite the ostensible impossibility of reconciliation between them; there is no dearth of ‘progressives’ trying to bridge the gap between Islam and Secularism. These efforts, of course, have often been futile and full of contradictions.
It ,for example, goes unnoticed by most of the protagonist of reconciliation between Islam and Secularism that if Islam has no conflict with Secularism; why shouldn’t then we call for the establishment of an Islamic System? Why, then, secular and not Islamic state is emphasized?
One might at this juncture encounter a claim or think that the term ‘Islamic system’ is inherently flawed, contradictory, impractical, vague and imaginary. Well, if this is so, how come then there by any possibility of reconciliation between Islam and Secularism.
Islam = Secularism
and as it is said Islamic state = vague statement
which follows ISLAMIC STATE ≠ SECULARISM
So (explicit) is the ‘irreconciliation’ between ISLAM and SECULARISM!!!!
Similarly, following moderates’ logic that Islam and Secularism have no differences; one might dare say that the westerns countries follow an Islamic law while Arab countries such as KSA (The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) have a perfectly SECULAR constitution?
I don’t feel the need to point out how terribly mistaken this presumption would be. The fact that the secular West condemns certain practices which are practically sanctioned by Islam even though not as a ‘must’ is self-explaining. Polygamy for instance. Although Islam does not make it obligatory yet it imposes no restriction as such on men willing to afford second wife along with their first wife.
One might also encounter people who would argue while defending their claim that SECULARISM and ISLAM might be different but their values i.e equal opportunities, no discrimination on racial, religious or linguistic; are similar and that there are no differences between the ‘values’ of Islam and those of Secularism. The irrationality of this ‘argument’ is evidenced by the fact that no adherent of any faith would deny that their religion also enjoins these virtues. Why is then so much ( ‘Raula’ رولا) hue and cry in the name of Islam? Why is it so that we’ve come to believe that unless Islam is proven to be in perfect congruence with Secularism; nothing good can happen.
Apart from this, the very definition of SECULARISM smashes any probability of it being in harmony with Islam. Secularism says that STATE and RELIGION are two entirely different entities or domains. And that there can be no connection between the two. It also says that State-affairs should not be allowed to be influenced by religious intervention. To put it precisely, SECULARISM does not want Islam to intervene in its matters. Could there be anything more evident than this? Before starting hasty efforts for reconciliation between ISLAM and SECULARISM, it would be appropriate to learn what actually SECULARISM is and where does it lead. In order to be further clarified, one must also deeply understand ISLAM and what does it require from its adherents.
Moreover, any possible reconciliation between Islam and Secularism will cause great problems for ‘Secular Muslims’. According to a pure secularist view; there’s nothing objectionable in having pork or drink alcohol while Islam certainly has objections to that. It will be very difficult for a secular Muslim to maintain both positions at the same time. Will it be O.K for a secularist Muslim to enjoy wine when in office (i.e when attending government/official parties) and condemn it in private at the same time?
Secularism is practically actually much more than mere separation between ‘church’ and ‘state’. It is a complete ideology with a unique and distinct world-view. **As for Pakistan, our solution lies in our problems.** That is to say Let’s stop exploiting Islam for political purposes. Let’s be honest with our faith which states ‘For you, your religion and for me, mine’.
- by Mutahir Ahmad